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Looking for a Financial Advisor in Traverse City? 4 Things You Need to Know

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Looking for a Financial Advisor in Traverse City? 4 Things You Need to Know!
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read: “I live where you vacation.” If you have tried to make your way across town during the Cherry Festival, you can attest to the popularity of our beautiful city as a tourist destination. And we get to live here! Talk about being blessed.

And did you know that Traverse City, besides being a mecca for Fudgies, is also a premier retirement destination

Whether you moved up from down state upon retirement to recapture some of your childhood nostalgia from summers spent at the family cottage, or you’ve lived here all of your life, Traverse City is a beautiful spot to spend the golden years.

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So, what do you need to retire in Traverse City? Besides a great pair of golf clubs, the newest Pickleball gear, and flattering swimwear for those sunset cruises on our beautiful lakes, a great financial advisor is a must. 

Here are 4 Things you need to know about choosing a financial advisor in Traverse City:

1. Looking for a financial advisor in Traverse City? Go with a fiduciary.

A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about something called the DOL rule. Since then, the word “fiduciary” has been thrown around, and for good reason. Someone may only call themselves a “Financial Adviser” if they have either a series 65 or series 66 license and are registered with an RIA. Since they have to have a series 65 or 66 license, they are also, by default, fiduciaries. So, what exactly is/was the DOL rule , and why is choosing a fiduciary so important?

Fiduciaries are Independent Advisor Representatives and can charge a fee for the advice they give to their clients. More importantly, they are legally held to fiduciary standards. Two main duties are required of fiduciaries:

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  • Duty of Care: A fiduciary must legally work in the best interest of their client. Fiduciaries get to know all aspects of their clients’ situation, research available solutions, and advise clients to create a plan based on the “best” path to fulfill their wants and needs. 
  • Duty of Loyalty: A fiduciary must not have any conflicts of interest that may incentivize him to recommend products or platforms which will give him personal gain despite what is best for the client. He must disclose all fees and commissions so the client fully understands what the advisor will gain by having them as a client.

One would hope that all financial advisors would adhere to these two duties, but we all know “that one guy” who just has his own best interest at heart. 

2. Looking for a financial advisor in Traverse City? Go with an Independent Advisor.

I’m not slinging mud. That’s just not my style. But I am a straight shooter and being an independent advisor (and working with one) is “hands down” better than being/ working with a captive advisor in my opinion.

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What’s the difference? 

A captive advisor works for one company, and one company only. Many retirees find some sense of security working with companies that have fancy commercials, billboards, and national name recognition. However, those advisors can only work with the products and platforms that his company offers. 

An independent advisor works for the client and has no greater loyalty to any one company. He can search a plethora of companies/ solutions and find ‘the best” investment options for the client. No cookie cutter plans here: each plan is as unique as each client.

3. Looking for a financial advisor in Traverse City? Going with someone who deals exclusively with retirement.

If you had issues with your heart, would you see your primary care physician to coordinate your plan of care, or would you go see a cardiologist? Of course, having heart issues, consulting and advising with a cardiologist would be best. They would know the ins and outs of your specific situation. He would have a lot of experience dealing with the issues presented. He would have knowledge and resources at his disposal that a primary care physician may not.

The same is true when preparing for and maintaining your retirement. 

You should find a financial advisor that specializes in the “golden years.” You may think, “My advisor specializes in retirement. He’s helped me for 10 years!” If you really think about it, he specializes in accumulating wealth along the way to use for retirement, not necessarily retirement itself. And retirement is a whole different animal! 


  • Financial estate planning are all different once you are considering or in retirement. You need someone who can comprehensively plan for all that awaits you in the second half of your financial life. Your heart deserves a cardiologist, just like your retirement deserves an advisor who deals exclusively with retirement. 

 4. Looking for a financial advisor in Traverse City? Go with fees that make sense.

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The word “fee” rarely has a good connotation. In the financial advisor world, that may be because they have been known in the past to be excessive and almost “evil.” 

For example, if you are charged 2% per year as a wrap fee, but there are little to no transactions happening in your account and your advisor has little to no contact with you, there is a likelihood that you are being overcharged. Or, if there is an excessive amount of transactions (complete with charges) made in your account for no rhyme or reason…. well you get my drift. 

However, did you know fees can be a good thing? If you pay 2% per year but you net a 10% return because of the money management the 2% afforded you, then the excessive and/or foul nature of the fees goes away. Right? Right. However, don’t lead off your inquiry this way, especially when working with an independent advisor. They will need to put together a plan based on your unique needs, and only then can they truly disclose the fees associated with the plan. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Go with a fiduciary! The word does mean something, and fiduciaries are legally obligated to put their clients’ best interest above all else.
  • Go with an independent advisor! They work for you, not a company, and have more solutions at their disposal.
  • Go with someone that deals exclusively with retirement! Your advisor should focus on retirement: Social Security, Required Minimum Distributions, Tax Advantages, Medicare and Long Term Care planning etc…
  • Go with fees that make sense! Pay a reasonable amount for the services rendered, and know all the fees, hidden and blatant.

Once you find who you are looking for, you should be able to have access to some wonderful resources like this Ultimate Retirement Guide for Michiganders


  • Tips on Social Security, including how to get your own Social Security Maximization Report!
  • Information on how to best take your pension and leverage your Retirement account(s)!
  • Access to the Video: “Will A ROTH Conversion Work For Me?”
  • A discussion on Risk with an opportunity to test your own true risk score!
  • The three options for your 401(k), and the pros and cons of each choice!
  • Ways to designate money in your retirement to best leverage your assets!
  • 5 Critical Steps To reduce Taxation in Retirement!
  • An Overview of All Your Medicare Options!
  • Financial Estate planning tips!
So, congratulations on looking for a financial advisor in Traverse City! That means you live where other people love to vacation.
So do I, and we truly are lucky!

If you would like further information on planning for or reevaluating your retirement, or simply want to chat, give us a call at 231-421-7391.

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Get our FREE Ultimate Retirement Guide for northern michiganders


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